Morning phone calls and endless fear

I woke yesterday morning to the sound of my cell-phone beeping in my closet.  Yes, in my closet.  It was in my purse which, odd for me, I’d actually put away last night.  But I’d cranked up the volume the evening before so I could hear it in the car.  I hadn’t turned it down. 

Oddly enough, I wasn’t tired.  I whipped off the covers, and pulled out my phone.  I had just charged it, so it couldn’t be a dead battery.  Flipping my red Motorola open, I read the words:  New Text Message from Eric.

I gasped, and quickly clicked “read text”.  Eric is my uncle and he and his wife are due to have their first baby any day.  Eric is only seven years older than I, so even though he’s my uncle, he also takes to place of surrogate big brother.  This wasn’t just a cousin I was getting, it was the closest thing I’ll have in many, many years to a niece/nephew.  I’d been badgering them for weeks that they had to call and let me know when it was “baby time.”  Every time I saw them or called them I blurted out “Baby time??”  before so much as a hello.

The text read:

Baby time will call u later today!

Screaming, I ran upstairs, pounding on my parents’ door.  “The baby’s coming!  Eric just texted me!  Oh, the BABY’S COMING!!!”

Then I turned and sped to my brother’s room to do the same thing. 

I later found out that my parent’s already knew.  In fact, with the exception of my brother and maybe some cousins–I’m not sure all who, yet–everyone knew she was getting induced today but me!  My aunt and uncle had specifically not let anyone tell my brother and I so they could wake us up this way. Even though I later yelled at him for it, it was pretty special.   😀

All day we waited.  My cell never left my side.  Thank God I had so much work to do that day, or I’d have gone CRAZY.  I mowed the entire lawn (I now possess a very painful sunburn!), which, in our farm yard, is an all-day project.  Especially when, as happened to me, you run out of gas and have to leave with a gas can and fetch some more!

I also worked on preparing stuff for camp.  I’m working part time as Media Coordinator this summer and I had to put stuff together for some churches. 

Still no call.

I went and watched 7th Heaven that evening, unable to just sit around.

Around 8:00 p.m. my mom hollored for my brother and me.  With a scream of delght I bolted up the stairs.  Our phone doesn’t have speakerphone, so we cranked up the volume and the three of us gathered ’round.  (My dad was gone to a meeting.  Ha.  Bummer for him!) 

My uncle fooled around awhile, saying dumb stuff like, “It’s a baby!” , without giving any of the information we wanted.  Impatient as I was with his cheerful, giddy playing around, it made me smile.  He was so happy to be a dad.

“It’s a girl!”  He finally announced.  Cheers went up.  My mom gave me the phone.

“Congratulations!”  I said.  “Do we get to know the name yet?!?!?” (They had refused to tell us their names, just as they refused to find out the sex of the baby beforehand, wanting to be surprised.) 

“Ya.”  he replied smugly.

“Well. . . .” I pressed.

“Whitney.”  He announced proudly.

I smiled.  That name was completely different than any in my family, whose names are much more common, but I loved it and it sounded like something they would choose. 

“Whitney what?”   I pressed.

“Whitney Marie.”

I loved the name even more. 

We made small talk, then he hung up to keep calling other people.  I finally had my cousin.

We talked to a few people that night, mainly family, exclaiming how happy we were.  But I couldn’t wait for today to get here.  The day I could meet my new cousin.  We wanted my grandparents to go in first, and they weren’t visiting till mid-afternoon, so I knew I had a long wait today.

I was again awakened this morning.  This time in a different fashion, this time even earlier.  Around 5:00 my mother slipped into my room.  The door squeaked, warning of her presence.  She walked over to my bed, stared at me, then simply turned and walked out.  I pretended I was still sleeping. 

That was odd I thought to myself.  I figured she was having trouble sleeping.  Maybe she was doing some sentimental mother-walk, going through the house to check on her children.  I noticed she hadn’t gone to my brother’s room, though. 

Then I fell back asleep. 

At 7:00 she came back, this time I called out good morning to her.  This time she stayed.

“I need you to get up,”  she said.  “I have some bad news to tell you.”

AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  No.  Go away!

That’s what my head was screaming.  Out loud I timidly said, “Is it about the baby?”

When she said yes, my head screamed again.  I didn’t want to know.  I wanted life to stay giddily happy and blessed.  I wanted to hold my cousin in my arms, to watch her grow.  I wanted to call her “Whit” and hold her hand in her parents’ barn.  I wanted to play catch with on the lawn, to ride bike with her, to teach her how to read some of my favorite stories. 

And when my mom said she had to read me what happened off her message for pastor to put on the prayer chain, I knew it was bad.  I covered my face with my blankets the entire time my mother was explaining the morning’s events to me.

I guess my aunt’s parents called my father at 3:00 this morning, saying to “come quick, Eric needs his big brother.”  There’s a 20 year age-span between my dad and him.  People have always assumed Eric was my dad’s SON not BROTHER.  But as they’ve been farming together all their lives, especially since my uncle graduated from college and bought his own land, they’ve grown close.  They farm with another of my uncles and my grandpa.  My brother and a couple cousins help when they can.  I do, too.  (But that isn’t very often, sad to say.)  I’ve watched my uncle and father grow close lately.  They share a comeraderie.  They’re always teasing each other. It’s fun to see.

That Eric needs his big brother is sweet, but it breaks my heart. 

Whitney developed a heart condition.  Her parents were waken at midnight with the news.  I guess she doesn’t have enough oxygen in her blood stream.  I don’t really understand this.  Why, oh why, didn’t I take anatomy in High School? 

She’s being flied to Mayo;  her parents are being driven down separately.  This is a serious condition, but treatable, the doctors say. 

Treatable.  What does that mean?  She’s not even a day old yet!!  She was born at 6:00 p.m. on the 28th of May.  What if her body doesn’t know how to fight off a huge thing like SURGERY!!!??  There’s always a huge risk, especially on such a little girl. 

I find it odd how strong the bond of love is, and how important family ties are.  I haven’t even met this little girl, yet I love her stronger than I ever knew possible.  I’m so scared for her.  I can’t stop crying.  I’ll sob for a couple minutes, get ahold of myself long enough for the redness to recede from my eyes, then the waterworks just start up again. 

God, please don’t take my cousin.  I know you move in mysterious ways.  And I would love if you used this to bring my aunt and uncle closer to You . . . but not this way.  Not this way at all.  I don’t want a miracle, because that would mean she’d have to get worse.  So, please, just fix this.  Make it go away so she never has to deal with it for the rest of her long, prosperous life!!

Please, if any of you reading this beleive there’s a God and that prayer means anything, pray for little Whitney Marie.  Yes, I know there are worse things out there, worse conditions babies have developed.  Ones that are impossible to treat.  Ones that communities hold benefits for, to help parents with funding.  But this could turn into that.  I don’t want it to;  I want to pray preventively:  BEFORE any of that happens.

Thank you for reading my story.

~Emily

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One Response

  1. […] you” to everyone. Ever since I told her story on Facebook (I also blogged the same story, here.) so many–and I mean SO MANY–of you were continually asking about her over many […]

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